Vaginal practices as women’s agency in sub-Saharan Africa: a synthesis of meaning and motivation through meta-ethnography.
Martin Hilber A, Kenter E, Redmond S, Merten S, Bagnol B, Low N, Garside R.
University of Bern, Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, Finkenhubelweg 11, CH-3012 Bern, Switzerland; Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Switzerland. firstname.lastname@example.org
This paper reports on a systematic review of qualitative research about vaginal practices in sub-Saharan Africa, which used meta-ethnographic methods to understand their origins, their meanings for the women who use them, and how they have evolved in time and place. We included published documents which were based on qualitative methods of data collection and analysis and contained information on vaginal practices. After screening, 16 texts were included which dated from 1951 to 2008. We found that practices evolve and adapt to present circumstances and that they remain an important source of power for women to negotiate challenges that they face. Recent evidence suggests that some practices may increase a woman’s susceptibility to HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. The success of new female-controlled prevention technologies, such as microbicides, might be determined by whether they can and will be used by women in the course of their daily life.
Que penser de la génitoplastie cosmétique féminine aujourd’hui ?
[Female cosmetic genital surgery: Point-counterpoint] [Article in French]
Cosmetic genitoplasty interventions, and especially reduction nymphoplasties, now seem to attract more and more patients, mainly among the younger who are more influenced by widely publicized pornographic than by anatomic reality they hardly suspect. However, they must be informed and warned against the trivialization of a still young surgery, insufficiently justified validated and supervised, especially on the psychological level, and with many unresolved ethical issues.
Arch Sex Behav. 2012 Jun;41(3):725-30. Epub 2011 Aug 12.
Cosmetic clitoridectomy in a 33-year-old woman.
Veale D, Daniels J.
NIHR Specialist Biomedical Research Centre for Mental Health at the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and The Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, 99 Denmark Hill, London, SE5 8AZ, UK. David.Veale@kcl.ac.uk
Arch Sex Behav. 2012 Jun;41(3):735-6.
Arch Sex Behav. 2012 Jun;41(3):731-4.
The Female Genital Mutilation Act (2003) in England allows for mental health exceptions for cosmetic surgery resulting from perceived abnormality. Similar legislation exists in other countries. There are no reported cases of clitoridectomy for cosmetic reasons or any discussion in the literature of mental health exceptions to the Act. This is a single case report on a 33-year-old married, heterosexual woman who had already had a cosmetic labiaplasty and was seeking a clitoridectomy for aesthetic reasons. At assessment, there were no psychiatric contra-indications or unrealistic expectations and the patient proceeded with a clitoridectomy. At 9 and 22 months follow-up, she was reassessed and was very pleased with the outcome. There were improvements in the satisfaction with her genital appearance, sexual satisfaction, and quality of life related to body image. Assessments for cosmetic clitoridectomy will continue to be rare, but this case may provide some guidance for practitioners who are confronted with such requests for body modification. However there remains only limited understanding of the motivation for such a request.
Sexuality Issues in the Movement to Abolish Female Genital Cutting in Sudan
Ethnographic research in seven rural Sudanese communities in 2004 demonstrates the deep association between infibulation and expectations for successful male sexual response, reinforced by aesthetic values about the preferred body form for females. In contrast, women conceive of the uninfibulated body as lacking in both propriety and beauty, as well as making a woman less able to please a husband sexually. Female sexual response has only recently begun to be discussed in the context of change efforts to end female genital cutting.